NORFOLK, Va., – No. 7 Morgan State erased a 13-point deficit to knock off No. 2 Bethune-Cookman, 78-77, and advanced to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Tournament semifinals inside the Norfolk Scope Arena.
With seven seconds remaining, Morgan State’s Tiwian Kendley made a pair of free throws and gave the Bears a one-point edge, 78-77.
With time dwindling, Bethune-Cookman’s Brandon Tabb drove the length of the court and attempted a game-winning layup, but the shot rimmed out; thus, ending the Wildcats’ season.
Morgan State had four Bears reached double figures, led by Kendley with a game-high 31 points. Phillip Carr, All-MEAC First Team selection, posted a double-double with 16 points and 12 boards in the victory.
Moments after intermission, Bethune-Cookman’s Soufiyane Diakite made a layup and gave the Wildcats its largest lead of the game, 41-28, but the Bears refused to go away.
Within a six-minute span, Morgan State went on a 18-5 run and tied the game after two free throws from Kendley, 46-46.
Bethune-Cookman kept the Bears at bay until a fast break three from Kendley gave Morgan State its first lead since the 9:17 mark in the first half, 53-52.
Both clubs went back and forth exchanging the lead. With under a minute to go, Morgan State’s Martez Cameron connected on a three-pointer and tied the game, 76-76, but Bethune-Cookman’s Isaiah Bailey split a pair of free throws, 77-76.
Morgan State’s Antonio Gillespie and Stanley Davis scored 11 points apiece in the win.
Bethune-Cookman (18-13) outscored the Bears inside, 44-30, but lost the turnover battle, 16-9. Brandon Tabb, MEAC Player of the Year, registered a team-high 30 points while Diakite netted 22 in a losing effort.
Morgan State (13-18) squares off against either No. 3 Savannah State or No. 6 North Carolina Central Friday (March 9). Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.